Originally published Dec. 12, 2011
Two weeks after renewing Georgia’s commitment to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, developing and delivering more effective treatment and finding a cure in honor of World AIDS Day, Governor Nathan Deal met with key members of Department of Public Health (DPH) HIV Unit including J. Patrick O'Neal, M.D., Director of Health Protection. After the group posed for a photo in the Capitol Rotunda, they reflected on the importance of this proclamation.
In a 2010 publication, CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention stated that Georgia reported 38,300 AIDS cases to CDC, cumulatively, from the beginning of the epidemic through December 2008. Georgia also ranked 6th highest among the 50 states in cumulative reported AIDS cases and reports 3,000 new HIV cases each year.
“Governor Deal's support and recognition of World AIDS Day sends a strong message to all citizens of Georgia of the importance of HIV prevention, care, and treatment in Georgia,” said Donato Clarke, Special Projects Coordinator for the HIV Unit at DPH. “We are encouraged that with his support and the leadership of Commissioner Fitzgerald, we will ultimately see a decline in new HIV infections and an increase in access to care and treatment in Georgia.”
This most recent opportunity to meet with the governor reminds us that much work has to be done in Georgia to combat the epidemic by reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, educating about the importance of getting tested and engaging in healthy behaviors that reduce the risk of HIV infection, and improving the quality of life of those living with the disease.